Mixed Bill – Richard Alston Dance Company: New Wimbledon Theatre, 9 February 2013

Get set, Goooooooooo!

Nathan Goodman's talent is in the genes, ho-ho. Martin Lawrance's Madcap. Photo by Tristram Kenton

Nathan Goodman’s talent is in the genes, ho-ho. Martin Lawrance’s Madcap. Photo by Tristram Kenton

If ever a dance company went through the gears it was the Richard Alston Dance Company at the New Wimbledon Theatre tonight.

Setting a rather gentle opening pace was Richard Alston’s The Devil in the Detail, a rather sweet meander set to Scott Joplin’s well, rather sweet piano rags. There was plenty of Alston’s trademark flat-handed classical/contemporary melding and the vintage costumes were charming but none of it really got the pulse going.

Alston mixed his choreography about for the world premiere of Buzzing Round the Hunisuccle and also upped the tempo. There was touch of the Wayne McGregors at times in the way couples splayed their legs and held their partners vertically by the wrists to form uncomfortable jagged positions. Jo Kondo’s music helped. At times percussive, at others sharply string-laden, it provoked more energetic and caustic movements than is typical of Alston.

The night came to a screaming finale with the frenetic mayhem of Martin Lawrance’s Madcap – an impressive contemporary dance take on the breakneck speed of Édouard Lock’s La La La Human Steps. Arranged perfectly against Bang on a Can’s percussive rock score, the tight, precise partnering and complex ensemble set-pieces put this work on the edge – the terrifyingly athletic dynamism gave the very real impression that something could go wrong any second. The dancers are extraordinary and attack the work with relish; they barely seem to be the same group of people that wafted their way through The Devil in the Detail just an hour before. Madcap is fantastic and a great way to finish the show.

The Richard Alston Dance Company now embark on a national UK tour that lasts until 23 May 2013. More information can be found in their section of The Place’s website.

Gerard Davis

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